Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Editorial

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Editorial

Article excerpt

Pregnancy can be a time of joy, but also of potential conflicts.

Improvements in obstetrics have greatly reduced the risks in pregnancy to a point where much of the historical mystique surrounding the condition has vanished. For most people, pregnancy is a time of happiness and anticipation, but significant challenges still exist for both parents and health practitioners.

Medical conditions such as maternal diabetes and pre-eclampsia are now largely understood and manageable, but preventing mothers from causing harm to their unborn babies still remains problematical. Too many pregnancies are blighted by the avoidable effects of smoking, drugs and inappropriate diets. While not deliberate, this reflects a general lack of awareness of fetal development needs. Since the majority of women will experience pregnancy during their lifetimes, it would be appropriate to address this issue through better health and biological education in schools.

Although most pregnancies are welcome events, they can cause disagreements in families. Increased pressures on finances, enforced adjustments to lifestyles and possible alienation between partners, can create tensions and damage relationships. Greater economic and work pressures have made the crucial early bonding between parents and newborn baby harder to achieve. Many parents now struggle with the demands of a new baby in fairly isolated circumstances due to the loss of extended family support. The well-established benefits of breastfeeding no longer suit all parents' busy lifestyles. …

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